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  1. #1

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    Journalism and documentary, bad words

    In February I had the oportunity of chat with Mary Ellen Mark and a group of fellow photographers over dinner and I told them that two photo galleries in Chicago didn't bother to see my work when I say that I do documentary photography, and Mary Ellen said that it's worst when you present yourself as photojournalist. We conclude that in the today's art world, journalism and documentary are bad words.

    What you think?, any experience?, any thoghts?
    Jose A. Martinez

  2. #2
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    There has always been tension between fine art photographers and photojournalists. They seem to resent, and each other's work... dismiss it... on both sides. I think this weakens photography, creates "ghettos" of photographers bad mouthing each other.

    Do novelists, poets and journalists have such hostilities toward each other? Why should photographers?

    FWIW, Jose, I think your work would be powerful on a gallery or museum wall, and I hope someday to see it in that context. (As well as the printed page... )

  3. #3
    arigram's Avatar
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    Its because they usually have different goals:
    fine art photographers usually care about aesthetically pleasing but "useless" photographs where photojournalists care about capturing the news rarely really caring about aesthetics. Unfortunately its not the fault of the photographers themselves, but of the market.
    Fine Art collectors usually don't want something tied to an event, unless it has some historic value. New agencies care only about how well a photo would illustrate an event. Very few photographers care about combining both, for example the Magnum Photo agency and photographers such as Sebastiao Salgado. There is a reason the agency is by invite-only and Salgado is often critised for "beautifying" misery and ugly events.
    My belief is that a good photographer will make good photographs even in a war zone or where speed matters, sometimes even standing by themselves as great pieces of art. Most of classic photography is actually documentary, but where aesthetics and art takes a mere historical event even further.
    As a journalist, I am often in a hurry to find photos to accompany the stories I write and its not unusual to prefer a "boring" snapshot that illustrates the text better than a good artistic one.

    But its a large and good subject and would like to read more opinions.
    aristotelis grammatikakis
    www.arigram.gr
    Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
    no digital additives and shit




  4. #4

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    Thanks Suzanne, I'm working on it. I've been shown in museums and cultural centers, and a Mexico city's gallery represents me, they gave an exhibition last September. About publication, I was rejected by one of the most important foundations in the country two days ago. Even though, I'm confident that I'll publish in the near future. I'm certain that my work is more for a book than other means.
    Jose A. Martinez

  5. #5

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    Galleries are businesses, first. If your style doesn't match what makes money for them, they will not take a risk.

    This doesn't mean your images do not have a market. The business of sell photography is taking the time to find the correct match between your images and the gallery's clientele.

    Just because you've heard 'no' does not mean that's the final answer. Hang in there.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

  6. #6
    bjorke's Avatar
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    Try to get a job at Time Magazine describing yourself as a "surrealist"

    I'm not sure wat the problem here is

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
    KBPhotoRantPhotoPermitAPUG flickr Robot

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuzanneR View Post
    Do novelists, poets and journalists have such hostilities toward each other?
    No, but "commercial" and "literary" writers sometimes do. And, yeah, it's all about preserving ghetto boundaries, not about quality (or even money, sometimes).

  8. #8
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    Well, like galleries, big media are businesses, too.. and, well, I've seen some pretty surreal pictures in Time magazine...

    http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16...951225,00.html

  9. #9
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    I think the proper term for Time is "Corporate Propaganda Illustrator",
    Photojournalism having gone out of favor. And for galleries,
    well, they've never been comfortable with living PJs because they
    are usually unkempt and aren't easy to manage.

    But then you aren't doing Documentary for the Galleries, are you ?
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell View Post
    I think the proper term for Time is "Corporate Propaganda Illustrator",
    Photojournalism having gone out of favor. And for galleries,
    well, they've never been comfortable with living PJs because they
    are usually unkempt and aren't easy to manage.

    But then you aren't doing Documentary for the Galleries, are you ?
    of course not, I'm doing it because I love to. But I love to sell too. I love to be shown. And I think that what I'm doing could be "hang" in a gallery. The first living photographer that have a show in MOMA was Diane Arbus
    Jose A. Martinez

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